Allowing Pets

One of the most controversial questions… to allow or not to allow pets? This can be a hard decision because allowing pets may damage your property, but will also attract more potential renters making it easier to rent.

The pros of allowing pets in your rental property include things like:

  • Having a broader pool of tenants to choose from
  • Being able to charge more for rent
  • Being able to charge non-refundable pet fees

However, there are cons to allowing your tenants to have pets, such as:

  • Damage resulting from animals chewing on carpet or scratching floors
  • Stains and odors left behind by pets who are not properly housebroken
  • Noise from animals that may disturb other nearby tenants
  • Liability exposure if the tenants dog bites someone

You will have to weigh the benefits and detriments to come up with a decision on your own. However, if you do decide to allow pets, here are some tips for reducing the risks associated with them:

  • Limit the Types of Animals You Permit – You probably will not want your tenant to keep an alligator, so come up with a list of animals that you are comfortable having on your property, like dogs, cats, small reptiles, or birds. You also may restrict the animals allowed to certain weights and breeds. Some dogs are considered to be violent breeds and you run the risk of your homeowners insurance carrier dropping your policy if they find out your tenant has one of these dogs, or not covering you in the event the dog injures someone.
  • Assign Responsibility to the Pet Owners – Obviously, the pet owner will be responsible for their pets’ needs, but you should include in your lease agreement that the liability for anything the pet does will fall on its owner (the tenant), and not on you, as the owner of the property. In the event the dog bites someone, there is risk of a lawsuit being file. You do not want to be the person at the other end of that lawsuit.
  • Inspections – If you allow your tenant to have pets, it is important that you do frequent inspections of the interior of the property to ensure the pet is not damaging the home. While this is an important practice even if the tenants do not have pets, it is even more of a priority when they do. In the case of dogs, you should never attempt to enter the home without the tenant being present unless you know the dog is friendly and you’ve given advanced notice.

Being a landlord is all about protecting yourself. Follow these important steps when considering Pets and set yourself up for success!